HISTORY AND HUMAN RELATIONS
worst of tragedies Christianity leaves life with some
meaning, for it guarantees to men a mission.
It is fandamental to the teaching of the New Testament
that we are to take something of the divine into human
life in order to transform that life. Something that
men only learned by thinking about God is to be added
as a new factor, a new force, in the field of human
existence. It is all very well for man to ape the Almighty
provided he does not pretend to ape the power or the
knowledge or the regal position, but catches by con-
tagion some of the love and mercy. In any case^it is
the Love that lies in the nature of God which comes
first; and we love only because He first loved us.
The development of the ideas which we have been
considering is a development that has taken place in
religious history. Those who gave at times great
evidence of Christian Love were like men who felt that
they had had a hairbreadth escape, so that whatever
they possessed seemed more than they had a right to.
They were like the man who sees himself as having been
gratuitously reprieved; or like the man who having
lived through two world-wars with undeserved im-
munity might feel his life henceforward not quite his
own, not anything that he had a right to, not anything
that he could use for its own sake. Men of all kinds
are capable of extraordinary self-sacrifice; even super-
stition has had devotees willing to immolate themselves;
even Nazi youths could die for comrades or for the
Fatherland. In Christianity a wider notion of Love
as manifested in God Himself sets the tone for the whole.
wide outlook of men, and decides what they are trying